A frenum is a small muscle attachment in your mouth that extends from the upper and lower lips to the gums around your teeth (labial frenum) or from under your tongue to the floor of the mouth (lingual frenum). Dr. Fraser can evaluate your condition to determine if your frenum is causing a problem. In certain cases, after orthodontic treatment, the maxillary labial frenum may cause orthodontic relapse and push the upper incisors apart. In other cases where a large space (diastema) occurs between your child’s upper front teeth, your dentist may recommend evaluation by Dr. Fraser. Adults who wear a maxillary complete denture and have a large labial frenum will often find a loose and poor performing plate. A maxillary labial frenectomy procedure will release the muscle attachment.
When your lingual frenum is too short, it will restrict normal tongue mobility causing “tongue tie” (ankyloglossia). The treatment required to release your “tied tongue” is a lingual frenectomy. There are several periods of time during childhood when you may notice symptoms of “tongue tie” in your child:
- In infants, “tongue tie” can interfere with feeding.
- When your child begins talking, usually at 12 to 18 months, you may notice they are having problems with speech.
- Some older children and teenagers may notice that their frenum, under their tongue, may get stuck between their front teeth or they can’t stick their tongue out as far as their friend.
- Your dentist may notice that the frenum is pulling your child’s gum tissue away from the lower front teeth (incisors) causing gum pockets.
For removal of a frenum, Dr. Fraser can use a scalpel or laser. If a scalpel is used, you usually require a few stitches that will dissolve on their own. The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes and is routinely performed using local anesthesia with or without nitrous oxide sedation.